Summit, NJ, June 2012 – Men tend to report less stress and put less of an emphasis on the need to manage it than women, according to results from a recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA). This Father’s Day, with millions of families taking time to appreciate and give thanks to the men and fathers in their lives, the New Jersey Psychological Association encourages men and dads to pay closer attention to their daily stress, as it can contribute to a strain on both their mental and physical health.
Although men are more likely than women to say they do enough to manage stress, in reality, their rate of stress-related illness appears to show that they’re not doing enough at all. According to the APA survey, Stress in America™: Our Health at Risk, men tend to put less emphasis on managing stress than women (52 percent vs. 68 percent, respectively, reporting that it is very/extremely important). Men are less likely than women to report using healthy stress management strategies, including reading (31 percent vs. 51 percent), spending time with family or friends (32 percent vs. 44 percent), praying (22 percent vs. 41 percent), going to religious services (17 percent vs. 24 percent), and seeing a mental health professional (1 percent vs. 5 percent). At the same time, men are more likely than women to report having been diagnosed with the types of chronic physical illnesses that are often linked with high stress levels, such as high blood pressure (32 percent vs. 23 percent), type 2 diabetes (12 percent vs. 7 percent), and heart disease or heart attack (6 percent vs. 2 percent).
Here in New Jersey, men have been particularly stressed out due to economic factors and additional worries about being able to provide for their families. “We spend a lot of time talking about the impact of stress on mothers or women,” said NJPA Public Education Chairperson and member of the staff at Overlook Medical Center, Rosalind S. Dorlen, PsyD. “However, the stress fathers and men face is just as real and gets far less attention, which, as research shows, is bad news for their health. It is important that men take action to manage their stress in healthy ways to avoid chronic illnesses.”
During Father’s Day, the New Jersey Psychological Association recommends these approaches to men and fathers for healthier stress management:
- Identify your sources of stress. Everyone experiences stress differently. What events or situations trigger stressful feelings for you? Are they related to your children, family, health, financial decisions, work, relationships or something else? It is important to learn your own stress signals.
- Understand your coping mechanisms for stress. Determine if your stress management strategies are healthy or harmful. Does your approach to managing your stress ultimately do more harm than good? Avoid risky behaviors, such as gambling, excessive drinking and smoking, which are often used to temporarily alleviate stress.
- Adopt healthy ways to manage stress. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities – taking a short walk, meditating, or talking things out with a supportive friend or family. Keep in mind that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and can be difficult to change. Don't take on too much at once. Focus on changing only one behavior at a time, like identifying one unhealthy behavior and trading it with a healthy one.
- Seek help from close contacts. Talk about stress with friends and family whom you can trust. Getting things out in the open can help you identify, then navigate your feelings and work toward a solution. Accepting help from supportive friends and family can also improve your ability to persevere during stressful times.
- Ask for professional support. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist who can help you better manage stress, develop healthy coping strategies and change unhealthy behaviors.
To learn more about managing stress and mind-body health visit the APA's Psychology Help Center, follow the APA on Twitter @apahelpcenter and read the "Your Mind Your Body" blog.
View the details of APA's Stress in America survey >
About the New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA)
The New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA) is the professional organization representing over 2,000 psychologists throughout the state. We provide information and resources for the public and professionals in the mental health community that can improve lives, families, workplaces, communities and practices. Visit us online to find the most current news, articles, and events that may be of interest to you. Follow us on Twitter @njpsychassn.
About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey, comprised of Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center in Summit and Newton Medical Center. The three medical centers – all accredited by The Joint Commission – have a combined total of 1,308 licensed beds and more than 2,750 affiliated physicians providing a wide array of health care services to the residents of Northern and Central New Jersey. Specialty service areas include advanced cardiovascular care, pediatric medical and surgical specialties, neurology, orthopedics, and sports medicine. Each of these programs has earned top ratings and recognitions in their respective fields. Atlantic Health System is the official health care partner of the New York Jets and an official health care provider of the New Jersey Devils.
Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute performs more heart surgeries than any other hospital in New York or New Jersey, and is one of 20 facilities across the country to perform catheter-based repair and replacement of valves on both sides of the heart. Atlantic Health System’s spine program – where surgeons perform more spine surgery than anywhere else in New Jersey – is one of just 13 hospitals across the country that has received the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission, achieving Disease-Specific Care Certification for cervical and lumbar spine treatments. With the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute based at Overlook Medical Center, the hospital serves as the hub for the New Jersey Stroke Network, and serves about 40 percent of the state’s stroke patients. The system’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital offers more than 100 board-certified physicians in 20 pediatric specialties. Morristown Medical Center is verified as a Level I Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons and designated a Level II by the state of New Jersey.
Atlantic Health System has been chosen for the past three consecutive years by FORTUNE® as one of the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®.” The organization has also been recognized four times by AARP as one of the “Best Employers for Workers over 50.” Inside Jersey magazine partnered with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and ranked Morristown Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey and the No. 1 hospital for treatment of heart failure and coronary surgery in the state. The survey findings also establish Overlook as No.1 for the treatment of neurological disorders and stroke in NJ. Atlantic Health System is a Major Clinical Research Affiliate with The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and is the primary academic and clinical affiliate in New Jersey of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Hospital.